How do I Qualify a Private
Is the private investigator or the private investigative
agency licensed in the state where you want the investigation to be
conducted. If you are considering hiring an out of state
investigator, check with the state licensing department that oversees the
licensing of private investigators and private investigative agencies.
Here is a list. If you are using a
private investigator in your own state to conduct an investigation out of
state, make sure that the investigator in your state selects a licensed
investigator in the other state. A few states don't have licensing
requirements, but most do. There is nothing more useless than
finding out that the other investigator was not licensed to conduct
investigations. Many states have a on-line database of their
licensed private investigators and agencies. You can check them out
on-line and even check the status of their insurance, bonding, and whether
or not they have any complaints against them.
Most investigators specialize or have an edge in specific
types of investigations. Be direct and ask for their experience and
qualifications to conduct your kind of investigation. Ask if they
would provide you with a plan of action, preferably written, for
successfully completing the investigation. Most experienced
investigators use several different and overlapping skills to acquire
information and adjust the plan when the situation and/or facts change;
this is a good thing. An honest investigator will advise you if the
goal you seek is possible and legal. Be wary of those that offer you
results by breaking established laws. Not only will they be in
trouble but they will also get you in trouble. Violation of privacy laws
being the biggest offender.
Be up front about the cost of the investigation and the
length of time to complete it. Check around to see if the price you
are quoted is reasonable. While you are checking around for prices,
you might as well ask about retainers, confidentiality of information, and
whether or not they guaranty their work. You also need to know if
the private investigator provides detailed reports of your investigation.
It's common sense to know what you are paying for and you are entitled to
a investigative report if you so request it. You also want to know if
they subcontract out your work or part of your investigation to others,
and if so, who.
You need to find an investigator that you trust and one
that you can communicate with on an on-going basis. Keeping your
information and the results of your investigation confidential is of
primary importance. The last thing you need is an investigator that
is sworn to confidentiality talking to others about you or your
investigation. All states that have licensing requirements have laws
that require private investigators to keep the identity of the client and
the results of an investigation confidential. If they are willing to
give you references, make sure they are not giving you the names of
clients they are required to keep confidential. Generally, most
private investigators will not give you the names of clients unless they
have been given permission from that client. Insurance companies and
law firms are more likely candidates for referral information since these
type of clients may also want you as a client. But even then, law
firms and insurance agencies would need to give the investigator
permission to use them as a reference; hopefully, the right to use them as
a reference would be in writing.
Powers Investigations will protect all
client information. We will not allow such information that pertains to
our client, a client's identity, or the subject of an investigation, to
viewed or known by anyone other than our direct client. Such
confidential and protected information will not be available to anyone
other than the client without the consent and permission of the client.
We do not accept cases that have a conflict of interest to our clients.
We are obligated by state law not divulge information about our clients,
the subject of a investigation, or otherwise to any other party unless
ordered to do so by a court of law. If such a conflict of interest
should arises, we would decline any case where there is a conflict of
interest to the client without disclosing the reason for declining the
Are the photographs on your website actual photos of your private
No, for security reasons and to protect our clients during an
investigation, the photos are stock photos used for display purposes
only. Many of our investigations involve surveillance
operations and to advertise what we look like would jeopardize our
efforts and possibly compromise the results of an investigation.
Why hire a private investigator?
Private investigators are experienced in
searching public records and have access to information sources that the
general public does not. Much of this information is found on
commercial databases not usually available to the general public.
This ability to find records in a timely manner equates to a savings for
the client. Most commercial database providers require that their
customers (law enforcement, lawyers, insurance companies, and private
investigators) show proof of licensure prior to access and charge either a
per usage fee or monthly flat rate contract fee.
Almost all states require private investigators to be
licensed. Most states also require private investigators to carry
Liability and Errors & Omissions insurance. Powers Investigations is
licensed in the State of Washington and carries insurance in the amount of
$1,000,000 per occurrence. Without such insurance, you the client may
be held responsible for any errors, mistakes or omissions made by the
Private parties might hire private
investigators for locating people, background investigations,
surveillance, and pre-employment screening of household staff.
Attorneys need private investigators for asset location, video
photography, witness interviews, trail preparation, personal injury
investigations, witness locating, service of process, and levies
execution. Insurance companies use private investigators for fraud
investigations, witness interviews and locating, property locating,
workers' compensation claims, casualty, and video photography.
Do you guarantee your work?
We do guarantee our work, but we cannot
always guarantee that the result of a investigation or search will provide
you with all of the information you desire. Please be aware that
while the information has been found reliable, it may not be guaranteed.
We always keep the client informed about the progress of an investigation
and the need for any additional searches or records.
What kind of information does a background
Depending on the purpose for the
background investigation (premarital, pre-employment screening, business
relationship, dating), the results could provide information about local
or national criminal prosecutions, involvement in prior litigation, prior
marriages or divorces, and Gramm-Leach-Bliley compliant assets
(non-financial institution assets).
How do you keep track of costs and time spent performing an investigation?
Do you itemize these costs for the customer?
include Investigative & Administration costs and the actual Expenses of
Investigative & Administration costs
include the hours performed for a particular activity (hours x rate per
hour). All activities performed are itemized by date, hours, and
Expenses may include the following
items: Transportation (miles x per mile rate), Out of Town
Expenses, Photography, Records Search (Court, Claims, Background
Report), Clerical, Long Distance/Fax, Postage, Fees Paid Out, and
a licensed Private Investigative Agency and do you carry insurance?
Yes, we are licensed through the Washington State Department of
Licensing as a Private Investigative Agency. As a licensed Private
Investigative Agency in Washington State, we are required to carry
insurance. Powers Investigations carries Liability and Errors &
Omissions insurance with a per occurrence amount of $2,000,000.
Do you do subcontract work, or subcontract to other licensed private
We will accept subcontract work from
other licensed private investigators on an individual basis only if
the assignment does not violate the privacy of the client or state
laws concerning such activity. In most cases, we require a retainer
in advance. On special occasions we subcontract to other licensed
private investigators with the permission of the client.
I need your services if I already have an attorney?
Most attorneys specialize in the practice
of the law and represent clients in legal matters. They are not
necessarily experienced with conducting private investigations and will
frequently hire or ask the client to hire the services of a licensed
private investigator. Generally, if you have an attorney, and you retain the services of a
private investigator through your attorney, the investigator's work
product becomes shielded from disclosure to adversaries. If the
attorney/investigator relationship is properly established, the
investigator's involvement in a case and participation is privileged
communication and is generally protected from disclosure. If
you decide to hire a private investigator on your own and you have an
attorney, the results of the private investigator's work can be reviewed
by your attorney for possible consideration in your case. You can
hire a private investigator on your own or have your attorney hire one for
Can I retain your services if the subject of the investigation has a no
contact or restraining order against me?
A no contact order, restraining order, or
anti-harassment order (sometimes temporary or greater than one year) is a
legally enforceable document that prevents you from harassing or
contacting another party, and as such, may apply to third parties that you
may hire to do that which you are not authorized to do personally.
If you have such a situation, please advise us of the situation so we can
determine if such an order applies to us or prevents us from helping you.
Toll Free: (888) 241-8506
(425) 235-0989 Local
(425) 527-6934 Fax
P.O. Box 59332
Renton, WA 98058
On-Line Payment Methods:
For other forms of payment, or
questions, please do
not hesitate to contact us at (425) 235-0989.